Delta was the first major U.S. airline out of the gate to extend status for its most loyal flyers, giving Medallion members through January 2022 to keep using their Silver, Gold, Platinum, or Diamond benefits. It didn't take long for United to follow suit.
Within hours of Delta's announcement, United announced it would also extend Premier status for all current holders through Jan. 31, 2022. That was part of a slew of changes that give United flyers more time to use elite benefits while also making it easier to earn status for 2022 and beyond. The Chicago-based airline also made a handful of broader changes that affect all flyers, status or not.
Here's a look at the changes on tap for Premier status holders:
- Current status extended through January 31, 2022 for whatever status you currently hold with United
- Cutting requirements to earn status for 2021 by 50%: United shook up how flyers earn status this year, pivoting to a new model that requires only flights and spend with the airline – or, in some cases, only spend. Those requirements are getting halved to make it easier to reach a new Premier status level for 2021.
- United credit cards will earn more Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs) to make it even easier to earn status again. From May through December, the United Explorer card will earn double PQPs while the United Club Infinite Card will earn quadruple PQPs.
- More time to use upgrades: United also switched up how status holders can secure upgrades, using a simplified “PlusPoints” system where longer flights require more points. Any PlusPoints set to expire by Jan. 31, 2021 will be extended by six months.
Other Changes at United
It's not just top-tier status holders with United who got good news. Other changes that may affect everyday flyers are also on tap.
- United Club lounge memberships and subscriptions for Economy Plus seating and onboard Wi-Fi will be extended by six months.
- Any travel credit issued on or after April 1 is now valid for two years, another instance of United copying Delta. In this case, United went even further – you've got two years to book a flight with one of these credits, which gives you another 11 months to travel, too.
- Award redeposit fees are being waived on any flights scheduled through May that was booked with miles, plus all other flights through the rest of 2020 so long as you cancel at least 30 days in advance.
These are good moves from United at a time when few can (or should) fly. It's yet another case where Delta leads and its competitors follow.
The clock is now ticking on American, Southwest, Alaska, and others. With two of the biggest airlines making moves to soothe loyal flyers, they can't afford not to do the same.
Lead photo courtesy of Steve Lynes via Flickr